N26 customers feel ‘betrayed’ by German digital bank for leaving UK

N26’s emblem seen displayed on a smartphone.

Rafael Henrique | SOPA Images | LightRocket through Getty Images

Customers of the German on-line financial institution N26 say they really feel “outraged” and “betrayed” by the agency’s resolution to go away the U.Ok.

Berlin-based N26 introduced final week that it will not be capable to function within the nation because it will not have the suitable license to take action after Brexit. The start-up will probably be closing all U.Ok. accounts on Apr. 15.

The agency made its U.Ok. foray in October 2018, over two years after the U.Ok. referendum on its EU membership and 6 months earlier than Brexit was initially deliberate.

Miguel Frias Mosquea, an N26 buyer based mostly in London, instructed CNBC he felt “outraged” N26 had blamed its U.Ok. departure on Brexit: “It’s fake news.”

“Surely they need an excuse for investors and blame it on Brexit, not on mismanagement or lack of knowledge on how to tackle the U.K. market,” the 33-year-old stated. “It’s better to pretend it’s not their own failure.”

Another, Ian Cook, stated he felt “disappointed” by N26’s U.Ok. closure, saying he was a fan of the agency’s providing, having began utilizing it in July 2019.

“They are still my only bankers so I haven’t used any other banks,” Cook, who relies within the English county of West Midlands, stated. “I prefer N26 over other banks because of the ‘extras’ that come with the accounts.”

Cook, 62, stated he additionally felt “betrayed” as N26 “never gave any indication that the U.K. leaving the EU would make trading difficult for them.” He added: “I don’t believe Brexit was to blame.”

What is N26?

N26 is one in all a breed of latest branchless banking challengers trying to achieve market share from the incumbents with their slick apps and word-of-mouth advertising. In Britain, it had arrived right into a market already flooded with banking challengers, from Monzo to Revolut.

N26 hasn’t disclosed its U.Ok. buyer numbers publicly, however studies have stated it managed to draw simply 200,000 clients within the U.Ok. because it opened there in 2018. Monzo, its closest rival, has picked up 3.6 million clients because it was based in 2015.

Andrew Bowen, the CEO of a Cardiff, Wales-based private finance comparability web site referred to as PocketRate, stated that, although he’s not an N26 consumer himself, clients of the financial institution he is interacted with are “disappointed that N26 have pulled out.”

But, he added: “They are the sort of customers that will already have downloaded the Monzo app or the Starling app beforehand anyway.”

Following N26’s announcement to shoppers that it will shutter its operations within the U.Ok., rivals Starling and Monese used it as a advertising alternative to reap the benefits of the lack of a competitor.

“Just found out your bank’s making a swift Brexit? Don’t worry — we’re here to stay,” Starling stated in a tweet. “If you’re in need of a Brexit-proof GBP account, we can be your perfect match,” Monese tweeted.

Mosquea stated he most well-liked Monzo and Revolut’s choices over N26’s, claiming the “customer service of N26 was severely lacking.”

‘We are sorry’

For its half, N26 stated its intention was “always to stay in the U.K.” however that the results of the December normal election and the signing of Brexit into legislation “meant we will in due course be unable to operate in the U.K. with our European bank license.”

“As soon as it was clear that we would have to exit the U.K. market, we communicated this to our customers in order to be as open and transparent as possible,” N26 instructed CNBC in response to buyer criticisms.

“We are sorry to be leaving and we understand this will be disappointing for our customers, and our priority now is to ensure a smooth transition for them.”

Founded in 2013, N26 has picked up a formidable 5 million customers around the globe. It’s stated that 250,000 of these are within the U.S. the place it launched final yr, and the agency is presently planning on getting into Brazil subsequent.

The firm has raised over $680 million from traders together with PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing and Chinese tech big Tencent. It was valued at $3.5 billion final yr, making it one of many greatest fintech corporations in Europe.

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